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June 21–September 21, 2014
Curated by Melanie Egan
There is a saying, “A change is as good as a rest.”
A change of scene or mindset can fuel growth and refresh an artistic practice. Within our lives there are places of significance where something particular happens that can lead to new explorations and directions. These artists have all been invited to China at various times in their careers. They took opportunities to collaborate, create new work, teach and foster connections with like-minded individuals and institutions. This important change of locale brought fresh knowledge and understanding into the artists’ making and thinking.
– Melanie Egan, Head, Craft & Design, Harbourfront Centre
In 2008 I was invited by Paul Chung to his Yong Min Workshop in Dongguan City, China, to “play.” I was in the workshop for four weeks. Every day I watched the technicians working on their products, which were mainly in metals, to figure out the kind of projects that were suitable to the circumstances. Eventually I created drawings, patterns and sometimes models for the technicians to execute. When I got back to my studio I added other elements to these metal parts to complete the concept I had planned in China, though not all of them worked out. It took a lot of trying to arrive at What’s in Your Mind?
– Kai Chan
Kai Chan graduated from Ontario College of Art in 1970 has exhibited across Canada, the US, Japan, Australia and Europe. He has received numerous grants from Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council. He is the recipient of the Jean A. Chalmers National Crafts Award (1998), and the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Fine Crafts (2002). The 35-year retrospective exhibition Kai Chan: A Spider’s Logic was produced by Textile Museum of Canada and Varley Art Gallery of Markham in 2010, and toured to Québec, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Jae Hyun George Cho
My respect for tradition and love for art and clay inform my practice. This allows me to seek universal validity without the boundaries of language and stereotype. By infusing abstracted classical nomenclatures with modernity, I strive to appropriate the notion of utility and construct multiple definitions within my work. Using the vocabulary of art, craft, and design, I aim to unfold preconceived constructs of classical values within the traditions of ceramic practice.
The importance of being conscious of tradition in a contemporary context has always inspired me to create work that fosters connectivity across cultures and time. My experiences from the residency in Jingdezhen, China, have brought me a profound realization of how tradition and modern can coexist in the present. Humbled by the perseverance of tradition and history in the city, I utilized the abundance of resources to expand on my possibilities of approaching the subject. The work presented for this exhibition is a reflection of my experiences from the residency and the result of its impact.
– Jae Hyun George Cho
Jae Hyun George Cho earned his BFA in Ceramics from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and a Diploma in Ceramics from Sheridan College. He was awarded the NSCAD-Lunenburg Community Studio Residency position in 2010 and was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence programme in 2011.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
In my practice, I use the + (cross) form to symbolize where Paradise exists. I multiply crosses to create a grid system, which is the basis for several series of work.
The Flower Series focuses on bridging two major craft media: clay and textile. This body of work was inspired by visits to fabric stores in the traditional market during my four-month residency in Jingdezhen, China. I juxtaposed the two materials to address social issues such as equality. Before Mao, Chinese Imperial Porcelain representing the social elites was used only for royalty. Conversely, the affordable and decorative fabric associated with the poor was used for household or ordinary dress purposes.
This work contrasts cheap labour and mass-produced fabric for the lower classes with expensive, hand-built Imperial Chinese Porcelain for the upper classes. In an ideal society, everyone contributes his or her talent equally to the wholeness, and that is where Paradise exists.
Ying-Yueh Chuang received a diploma of Fine Arts from Langara College, a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and a MA in Ceramics from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. She has taught ceramics at NSCAD University, OCAD University, University of Regina, Sheridan College, Langara College and Capilano University. Chuang will begin teaching at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Fall 2014. She was the 2006 recipient of the Winifred Shantz National Emerging Artist Award for Ceramists, Canada. Chuang’s work has been featured in many publications such as Art in America, Ceramic Review, Ceramics Art and Perception, Ceramic Monthly and others.
The beauty and significance of historical Chinese pottery was formally introduced to me during my time at undergraduate school. Professor Ostrom passionately brought it to life and made us recognize the wealth of inspiration therein. From that time forward I have reaped the rewards through study and reference to various classical models. In 1998 I traveled throughout China and again in 2001.Last year I spent 6 weeks in Jingdezhen working for the University of West Virginia program. Spending time in China enhances my understanding of the people and culture whose ancestors were responsible for establishing such a rich ceramic tradition.
These two box forms are constructed from thrown and altered sections The surface has been water eroded and finished in a high temperature soda kiln.
Both the bronze and clay vessels made during the Han dynasty (206BC- 220AD) serve as my greatest source of reference in recent work. Robust forms, overstated elements and a strong sense of proportion found within these vessels are attributes I aspire towards in my work.
– Bruce Cochrane
Bruce Cochrane is an internationally-acclaimed ceramic artist and recently retired Professor Emeritus of Ceramics at Sheridan College. During his 30 plus years of teaching at Sheridan he was instrumental in developing the Ceramic Program’s reputation as one of the best in Canada. Cochrane is one of Canada’s pre-eminent ceramic artists with work featured in public and private collections around the world.
Cochrane’s studies began at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and continued in Alfred, New York, at the New York State College of Ceramics where he received his MFA. Since his graduation in 1978, Cochrane has participated in over 300 exhibitions and shares his knowledge through lectures and workshops throughout North America.
His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Royal Ontario Museum, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England), and the Canadian Museum of History (Ottawa) to name a few.
Cochrane resides in Toronto and maintains his studio practice in Grey Highlands, Ontario. He is represented by David Kaye Gallery (Toronto).
My introduction to China in 2005 came about through accepting an invitation to create a public art commission for Shanghai’s Changshou Park. A quick side trip to Jingdezhen to see The Pottery Workshop’s new residency facility started an ongoing relationship that has seen me travel to China seven times over the past nine years. These residencies have provided blocks of time to quickly work through ideas and forms in a way that has allowed for an intensive exploration of the reflective effects in my work. Access to the ultra-white Jingdezhen porcelain, classic celadon glazes and technological processes such as Physical Vapour Deposition has been inspiring. Immersion in a culture that offers a high degree of contrast to one’s own leads to a deeper knowledge. I have also been privileged to lead in-country workshops and to facilitate artist exchanges to the Ceramics studio at Red Deer College.
– Trudy Golley
After studies at the Alberta College of Art and Design, ceramic artist and educator Trudy Golley RCA received her BFA from the University of Calgary and her MFA from the University of Tasmania in Australia. Golley is a regular exhibitor in Canada and internationally, has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, has had work published in books and journals, and has participated in artist residencies in Australia, Canada, Denmark and China. An advocate for Canadian contemporary ceramic art, Trudy currently heads the Ceramics studio and teaches at Red Deer College in Alberta.
Trudy Golley is represented by David Kaye Gallery (Toronto).
In 1996, during BFA studies, I participated in an exchange and off-campus study program at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute in Jingxi Province, China. Over the last 18 years, I have traveled to Jingdezhen numerous times. Living and learning at the heart of the porcelain city impacted my creative process both in technique and in philosophy. Traditional and contemporary aesthetics, cultural differences, economics development and east/west education systems influence my work. Being a professor, artist, cultural ambassador, interpreter, between East and West has led me to contemplate linguistic and visual language in relation to sign, symbol and iconography. I continue to explore visual language to express my observations on and emotional responses to being Hong Kong Chinese living in North America. As the world moves toward greater globalization, technology leads people of many nationalities and cultures to evolve into an unknown. My collision course of cross-cultural experience speaks to a universal phenomenon.
– Sin-ying Ho
Sin-ying Ho received a diploma with honors from Sheridan College, a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from Louisiana State University in 2001. Currently, Ho is associate professor at Queens College, City University of New York, teaching ceramic art. She has exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Gardiner Museum (Toronto), Jingdezhen Ceramics Art Museum (China), Yingge Ceramics Museum (Taiwan), and World Ceramics Exhibition Museum (Korea and Germany). Her work is held in both public and private collection in Canada and internationally. Ho was nominated for a 2011 Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award and participated a panel discuss at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Traveling to China over the past nine years has provided me with many opportunities to share Western theoretical approaches to creativity, design and making through lectures and professional development workshops. In return, I have been impressed by the welcoming and engaging nature of the Chinese people and their highly developed sense of aesthetic and material connoisseurship. In addition to the cultural exchange, I have enjoyed learning about Ancient Chinese principles of action and strategic thinking. As well as integrating new materials and processes into my artworks through access to technological processes such as titanium Physical Vapour Deposition, the Jingdezhen porcelain, a unique material in the ceramics world, has made me… philosophical. But then, working outside of one’s comfort zone is always creatively beneficial!
– Paul Leathers
Paul Leathers RCA is a studio metalsmith whose practice includes jewellery and installation-based artworks. After graduating from Sheridan College’s School of Crafts and Design, he gained his BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and his MFA at the University of Calgary. He exhibits regularly in Canada and internationally, has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, has had work published in books and journals, and has participated in numerous artist residencies in Australia and China. An occasional writer, his articles on craft-related topics have been published in national and international journals.
Paul Leathers is represented by David Kaye Gallery (Toronto).
An English Chronicle, 2013
This hand thrown and decorated Jingdezhen porcelain plate contains in its fabric a key part of the history of British Ceramics, the search for true porcelain which led to the discovery of Bone China. Here the companies are represented emblematically on the very material they so ardently searched for.
Dutch Treat Squared, 2004
Vase in the Shape of a Basket, 2004
An intervention (my conceit) within the tradition of Dutch Chinoiserie.
China Study – A Nova Scotia Fen Ping, 1995
A Small Cup, 1996
My first piece of thrown Jingdezhen porcelain.
I am interested in the technical, economic, social, and cultural dynamics of Ceramics History. I have always been intrigued by China, its history and culture. I would move there in a minute.
– Walter Ostrom
Walter Ostrom Emeritus Professor Ceramics NSCAD University has extensively exhibited and lectured internationally. His work appears in many public collections including the Museum of Civilization , Ottawa, the Victoria and Albert Museum London, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Jingdezhen Ceramics History Museum and Tsinghua University Museum, Beijing .
He first visited the People’s Republic of China in 1974. In 1996 he taught at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Insititute and was awarded an Honorary Professorship in 1997. He has returned numerous time to teach, attend conferences, carry out research and make his own work. In 1996 he was awarded the Order of Canada.